Genesis The Last Domino? in Manchester review – a fitting farewell for the rock titans
27 September 2021, 10:13
Phil Collins takes his seat centre stage as Genesis take their last ever tour to Manchester.
Genesis in 2021 might not sport the flamboyant costumes of early 1970s Genesis, but I'm told to expect an incredible show from The Last Domino? tour all the same. The stage set up – lights, sound desks, and video screens – are so huge the band is travelling with two massive outside generators to power it all.
Unfortunately, it turns out one of those generators has gone down and we have to wait an hour for a new one to turn up and be plugged in at the Manchester AO Arena.
But this audience has already waited a long time to see this reunion show, delayed by the pandemic twice. A little longer won't matter.
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When Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, and Phil Collins finally walk onto the stage to a standing ovation, there's as much energy coming from the crowd as from the replacement generator.
Phil Collins takes his seat centre stage – as he quips during the show he knows his place – with his band mates on either side.
His seated position coming as no surprise to fans who know his recent health issues. But being seated does not diminish his stage presence or command of the audience.
The staging is indeed incredible, with the entire lighting rig undulating at points during the evening, while demonic red lights accompany Collins’s cackling laughter during a visceral performance of 1983's 'Mama'.
Introducing 'Land of Confusion', Collins alludes to how its message is still appropriate today, while the video screens show surreal scenes of falling loo rolls and businessmen in bowler hats and face masks marching through London.
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We get prog rock Genesis mostly courtesy of tracks from 1973's Selling England By The Pound, including 'Cinema Show' and 'I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)', plus a pared-down version of 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway' during a lovely acoustic break.
In a heart-warming moment the band sits and performs unplugged with Collins at the front of the stage, including a beautiful, tear-inducing rendition of ‘Follow You, Follow Me’.
The show is musically tight and warmly familiar. It feels more like a family reunion than a band one. In fact, family is key to the show as Collins has handed the drum sticks over to his 20-year-old son Nic.
He proves drumming is in the in the DNA as he pounds through two-and-a-half hours of classics that are all older than he is. His dad at one point just sits proudly at the side of the kit just watching his son work.
The energy is ramped up for the final section of the night with hits from the bands perhaps most well-known mid 1980's period – prompting some of the biggest singalongs of the night for radio-friendly tracks like 'Invisible Touch'.
Finishing up the evening with an encore including 'I Can't Dance', the entire arena proves otherwise as it gets on its feet and stays there for a standing ovation.
If this is, as Phil Collins has claimed, the last tour he will undertake with the band, it is a fitting farewell for the rock titans.
The full setlist of Genesis at the AO Arena in Manchester on September 24, 2021 was as follows:
- Behind the Lines / Duke's End
- Turn It On Again
- Land of Confusion
- Home by the Sea
- Second Home by the Sea
- Fading Lights (first two verses)
- The Cinema Show (second half; with parts of 'Riding The Scree' and 'In That Quiet Earth')
- That's All (Acoustic)
- The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (Acoustic)
- Follow You Follow Me (Acoustic)
- No Son of Mine
- Firth of Fifth (second half instrumental part only)
- I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (with Stagnation snippet)
- Throwing It All Away
- Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
- Invisible Touch
- I Can't Dance
- Dancing With the Moonlit Knight (first verse)
- The Carpet Crawlers